- Our bodies need manganese for healthy bones and normal bone growth. Manganese contributes to bone density, which may help prevent bone fractures and slow the progression of osteoporosis.
- Manganese helps our bodies absorb nutrients, including important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1 vitamin E, calcium and magnesium,
- Manganese helps us metabolize fat, cholesterol, amino acids, and carbohydrates.
- Manganese is a component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which neutralizes the toxic effects of free radicals and prevents or minimizes damage to cell membranes, proteins, and DNA throughout our body to slow aging and protect against diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
- We need manganese for healthy brain and nerve function, and to protect against epileptic seizures. Manganese also improves electrical impulse transmission throughout our body by binding to neurotransmitters, which may speed up our cognitive function.
- Manganese is involved with production and secretion of insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels and has implications for diabetes.
- Manganese helps our liver and thyroid gland function properly.
- Manganese has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to arthritis and especially as a remedy for ankle sprains.
- Manganese helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones.
- Low levels of manganese can contribute to infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and epileptic seizures.
Food is the best source of manganese, especially because too much manganese can be toxic and manganese toxicity, which can occur with supplements, is rare from foods.
The best plant-based sources of manganese include:
A cup of most cooked whole grains will get you close to or over your daily manganese requirement, including brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, amaranth, and spelt.
Some grains that you might enjoy without cooking include rolled oats, germ, and bran. Try soaking kasha (buckwheat), oats, or millet overnight and enjoy them cold the next morning.
The Standard American Diet tends to be much higher in refined grains than whole grains, and a significant amount of manganese gets removed from refined grains. So be sure to eat whole grains!
Nuts. Hazelnuts and pine nuts are at the top of this list: just one ounce gives you well over your daily requirement for manganese with 3.6 and 2.5 mg respectively. And one ounce of macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans gives you at least half your daily requirement. Other excellent sources of manganese include almonds, cashews, peanuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and coconut meat.